Nancy Pelosi opened the 116th Congress with a hosanna to bipartisanship, compromise, and civility. The spirit of magnanimity lasted approximately 10 hours. Then video of Rashida Tlaib began circulating on the Internet. Speaking at a party, the Michigan Democrat, daughter of Palestinian immigrants, self-described democratic socialist, and newly minted congresswoman, shouted: “We’re gonna impeach the mother—er!”
Tlaib’s outburst was no surprise to close observers of her political career. She gained notoriety in August 2016 when she heckled then-candidate Donald Trump during a speech at the Detroit Economic Club. She was arrested last October during a protest at a McDonald’s. Her Twitter feed contains plenty of salty language: “When it’s our brown or black babies dying,” she wrote last December, “those in power to change it, don’t give a s—.” Nor did she back away from her vulgar description of the president. “I will always speak truth to power. #unapologetically me,” she tweeted during the controversy over her remarks. A few days later, she co-wrote a pro-impeachment op-ed for the Detroit Free Press.